After more than a year of meditating every day, I’m still amazed at how often I’m somewhere else rather than where I am at any given moment. This morning, while chopping Brussel sprouts, I visited London, had a one-sided disagreement with a former colleague, made a mental list of chores that needed to be done around the house, and crafted plans for a holiday party with my family.
And that was all in the first few minutes!
One of the things a daily meditation practice has given me is a front-row seat to the show my mind puts on throughout the day. It’s like a wild cowgirl – reckless, undisciplined, and always on the move, herding one thought after another. Driving to meet friends for a hike, it’s thinking about what we’ll do later in the day. Talking with a pal on the phone, it’s focused more on our reaction to what’s being said than on the person sharing their thoughts and feelings (sorry friends). Riding in the car with Michael, it pays closer attention to what the drivers are doing all around us, than to the conversation in our own car.
I used to judge myself for having such a busy mind but meditation has really changed that. At the end of the day, the ultimate benefit of meditation is to move us from the mat to the moments that make up our daily lives. It’s designed to help us catch ourselves when we get tangled up in our thoughts so we can return to the experience happening right in front of us.
Now, when I find myself floating away, I celebrate the fact that I’m noticing. And when I do, the arguments stop. The strategizing and planning or reliving of the past cease to exist and what’s left is the joy or peace or meaning held in the moment before me.
And it turns out, there is much to marvel at in the here and now. As I turned my attention back to chopping this morning, I was struck by the exquisite design of Brussel sprouts. They are amazing little cabbages formed from layers upon layers of intricate green leaves and they are quite beautiful when you actually look at them.
Please notice the Brussel sprouts. Or the bright red beak of a cardinal. Or the color of your cat’s eyes, the softness of your dog’s fur, or the blue and silver hues of a summer sky.
Don’t miss out on the life that’s happening while you’re making other plans.